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September 26, 2011
Here's a quickie look at the weekend's action in a conference-by-conference manner.
Think of it as one final chance to look back at the weekend that was. We will have this conference call every Monday.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Clemson's run defense. After giving up 224.7 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry through the first three weeks of the season, Clemson yielded just 29 rushing yards on 15 carries in a 35-30 victory over preseason ACC favorite Florida State. Clemson had entered the weekend with the ACC's lowest-ranked run defense and was allowing 43.7 more rushing yards per game than any other team in the conference.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Cincinnati's defense. The Bearcats can move the ball with just about anyone. The problem is the defense can't stop anyone. That's showing signs of changing. Cincinnati turned in its best defensive performance against a major conference team Thursday by holding North Carolina State to 322 yards, 14 points and minus-26 rushing yards. The Wolfpack is not an offensive juggernaut, but neither were most Big East teams last season. Cincinnati is plus-14 in turnover margin through four games after finishing at minus-15 last season margin all of last season to plus-14 through four games. Cincinnati intercepted Mike Glennon twice and sacked him six times on top of a recovering a fumble in a 44-14 rout.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Michigan. The Wolverines are 4-0 and the latest conquest was a 28-7 victory over San Diego State in a game that many felt would be close. But the Wolverines took control early. The Wolverines can thank junior QB Denard Robinson, who ran for 200 yards (on 21 carries) for the third time in his career. He also ran for three scores, all in the first half, to tie a career-best.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Kansas State. True, the Wildcats were unbeaten going into Saturday's game against Miami, but those wins were over FCS member Eastern Kentucky and woeful Kent State. But the Wildcats showed they are a team capable of posting big wins by knocking off host Miami 28-24. They rolled up 398 yards of offense, and the defense mounted a last-minute goal-line stand to seal the victory. K-State plays Baylor this week.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Colorado State. The Rams' 35-34 double-overtime victory at Utah State improved their record to 3-1 and allowed them to match their 2010 win total before the end of September. Colorado State, a nine-point underdog, pulled the upset despite playing without four injured starters: OT Joe Caprioglio, DT Nuku Latu, DE Broderick Sargent and LB Mychal Sisson.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Arizona State's run offense. The Sun Devils had not rushed for more than 106 yards against an FBS opponent this season and didn't figure to have much success against a USC defense that not allowed an opponent more than 100 rushing yards. But the Sun Devils got a 70-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the game and went on to rush for 169 yards and three touchdowns in whipping the Trojans.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: South Carolina's defense. Despite a 3-0 start, the unit had been mediocre this season. But a visit from Vanderbilt helped. Vandy also went into the game 3-0, and there was talk that the Commodores actually could play a role in this season's SEC East race. Uhh ... no. South Carolina's offense didn't do much, but it didn't have to, as the Gamecocks' defense allowed just 77 total yards in a dominating performance. The defense also scored on a fumble recovery in the 21-3 victory.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Bowling Green. The Falcons were last nationally in rushing offense last season, but their rushing attack spurred them to a 37-23 win Saturday at Miami of Ohio. The victory stamps Bowling Green as a legit MAC title contender. BG ran for 127 yards after 33 was subtracted because of sacks. True freshman Anthon Samuel rushed for 121 yards and a TD, this third 100-yard outing in four games this season.
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